Charles Sterling Hofmann was born in the United States on the family farm near Janesville, Minnesota, on October 24, 1908. He graduated from Janesville High School with honors, and then began working full-time with his father, Emil, who was a beekeeper running a very large and successful enterprise. In 1934 Emil died unexpectedly, and Charles elected to continue with his father’s business, operating The Hofmann Apiaries until his semi-retired in 1985.

Charles Hofmann was a man of many interests, talents and achievements: He was athletic and was an excellent swimmer and wing shot; as a young man he became greatly interested in tennis and was prompted to research and construct a regulation clay tennis court at the farm that was used and enjoyed for years by friends and acquaintances in the area; he was an avid bowler, bowled in local leagues and bowled into his 80s; he was an even more avid golfer and golfed into his 90s.

During his working years he invented, designed, and made numerous tools, devices and mechanisms. He devised and made small, sometimes delicate, purpose-built items that he used in taking close-up photographs; he crafted many labor-saving tools and devices of various purpose and description, and constructed hydraulic lifts and hoists that lessened the burden of heavy lifting often necessary in beekeeping.

He was a master beekeeper and a skilled, prolific writer contributing various articles to beekeeping journals and magazines offering details of his practices and equipment; he belonged to various beekeeping organizations and served several terms as president and in many other official capacities of the Minnesota Beekeeper’s Association; in 1942 he was instrumental in helping form the American Beekeeping Federation, and while serving as its vice-president in 1951, played a key role in helping the Federation’s successful efforts to get restrictive World War Two price controls lifted on honey; he served three terms as chairman of the Haydak Research Fund; he served as State Apiary Inspector; he was an accomplished photographer and contributed many close-up images of honey bees to bee journals and other publications, many of which were featured on covers, and for many years he judged the Bee and Honey Exhibit at the Minnesota State Fair.

Alert and interested in life to the end, Hofmann lived on the Hofmann farm nearly his entire life and passed away only four miles from home at the Janesville Nursing Home on December 15, 2009 at age 101.